Consultations 2023

Heal.

Sometimes self-help resources and educational classes aren’t enough.  You may need more professional help to guide your child along a healing path towards mental health and well-being.

As a licensed clinical psychologist, I’ve been providing such guidance to children, adolescents, and families for over thirty years.  I’d be glad to help you and your child, too.

I typically provide a limited number of private consultations for a few new families each month.  This ensures that when I do see you, I’m able to give you my full attention and best possible service.

 


FAQs

WHO do you see for private consultations?

I provide Mental Health services for children and adolescents from 8 to 18 years old (Grades 2 to 12).

These services are provided to youth regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or politics.  Also regardless of their physical or mental abilities or disabilities.

NOTE:  I only see private-pay patients at this time.  That means you are responsible for payment in full at the time of service.  However, we can provide you with monthly statements that may be used for seeking partial, out-of-network reimbursement from your health insurance or your health savings account.

WHO don't you see for private services?

I'm unable to provide services for:

  • Pre-school and kindergarten children
  • College-age youth
  • Any child or teen without the consent of both parents
  • Families involved in high-conflict divorce or ongoing custody disputes.

 

WHAT Mental Health Problems do you treat?

I treat three main types of problems that many children are dealing with these days.

  • Distracted minds – Does your child have trouble paying attention, focusing, organizing, or keeping track of things – including time? Are they often distracted by too many different things swirling around them, or perhaps inside them…?  Are you both sick and tired of all the nagging and reminding, and not sure what would help?
  • Distressed emotions – Does your child experience chronic feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, sadness, irritability, or shame that are made worse by intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk? Are you worried about how best to help them and get your happy child back?
  • Disruptive behaviors – Does your child tend to argue a lot, or sneak and avoid things, such that daily routines are fraught with confrontations, outbursts, and meltdowns? Are they more reactive than reflective?  Are you walking on eggshells a lot of the time?

If any of these things sound familiar, I can probably help.

More specifically, I specialize in treating tweens and teens struggling with:

  • Adversity and Stress (Acute, Chronic, or Traumatic)
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Anger and Aggression
  • Behavior Problems - at Home or School
  • Neurodiverse conditions, especially:
  • ADHD, ASD, OCD, & other Executive Function Deficits

I also have extensive experience with:

  • Special Education Needs (504's, IEP's)
  • Students identified as Gifted
  • Chronic Health Conditions
  • Grief and Loss

WHAT mental health issues don't you treat?

Specialty areas that I do not treat include:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Substance Abuse Disorders (where drug & alcohol problems are primary)

Also, I'm not set up to successfully treat youth with:

  • Severe trauma (that may need longer term therapy)
  • Chronic mental health crises (high rates of crisis intervention or hospitalization)
  • Immediate mental health needs (my typical waitlist precludes it, unfortunately)

 

 

What Mental Health Solutions do you offer?

My online courses and live classes provide you with the basics of the Mindful Solutions approach to improving children’s Mental Health.

In my private consultations with families, you’ll receive a more in-depth version: the Mindful Solutions Therapy Program ™ (MST).

Mindful Solutions Therapy ™ is a short-term, intensive outpatient treatment program.  It’s a mindfulness-based, solutions-oriented, and skill-building approach to psychotherapy.

We’ll focus primarily on helping your child transform how they relate to their life experiences and to their own thoughts and feelings about those experiences.

Because no matter what emotional challenges they’re going through, the key to strengthening their mental health is to strengthen their Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation.

Self-regulating students are able to face the challenges of daily life with greater clarity of mind, calmness of emotion, and kindness of action.  Clear, Calm, and Kind.

In the MST program, that’s what we do.  We help kids become more clear, calm, and kind by developing three core mental health competencies:

  • Awareness – Seeing clearly what is.
  • Acceptance – Making peace with what is.
  • Aligned Action – Responding wisely to what is.

Your child will learn how to apply these core skills to their specific presenting problems.

We’ll also focus on changing your habitual ways of reacting, right alongside your child. Because the key to developing emotional regulation and resilience in kids is to strengthen the Co-Regulation relationships with their caregivers.

Without an optimal balance of empathy and accountability from parents and teachers – without ongoing, caring relationships that are both warm and firm – kids will continue to struggle with their social-emotional functioning.

Yes, it really does take a village – I would say a mindful village – to raise our children!

So, our Mindful Solutions Therapy ™ always involves coaching both the child and their caregivers so that, very simply, you all can “get along better and be happier.”

 

Why enroll in the Mindful Solutions Therapy Program?

Feel better, do better.

Kids are growing up today in a world filled with toxic stressors.  Their nervous systems are breaking down under the weight of chronic “fight, flight, or freeze” stress reactions.  Many children are increasingly distracted, distressed, and dysregulated.

Always, their struggle is due to a combination of both temperament and environment.  That is, a child may have some internal, biological vulnerabilities (what we call neurodiversity) such as ADHD or ASD or just being wired to be highly anxious, that intersects with some external, stressful environmental conditions (sometimes known as Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs).

If you don’t address both the internal, personal factors (the child’s strengths and weaknesses) AND the external, caregiving environment (their supports and stressors), then you can’t really improve that child’s mental health in any sustainable way.

As we discussed previously, the critical element to helping our children become more resilient in the face of these life stressors is to help them develop better self-regulation skills.

So, how do children develop these self-regulation skills?

Children develop self-regulation through attuned relationships with self-regulating adults.

This one sentence has guided my therapeutic work for the past several decades.  And it’s been instrumental in improving the emotional well-being of thousands of children and youth that I’ve worked with.

Children develop self-regulation through attuned relationships with self-regulating adults.

They calibrate their nervous system on ours.  When a child is stressed and freaking out, and we react with our own elevated, agitated nervousness (frustration, anger, anxiety), then their "Fight or Flight" nervousness escalates even more.

When we PAUSE, BREATHE, and RESPOND thoughtfully, rather than react emotionally - when we remain "calm, cool, and collected" - then they begin to settle their nerves as well.

Emotions are contagious.  We may not be the cause of their upset feelings and acting out (or shutting down) behaviors, but we can either escalate or de-escalate their reactions with our own.

So, the key to all of this is to teach the child self-care skills while practicing them ourselves!  That's co-regulation.

And that’s what the Mindful Solutions Therapy program provides: a structured approach to helping both kids and their caregivers develop CLEARER minds, CALMER emotions, and KINDER (more Cooperative) behaviors.

All in the context of more COMPASSIONATE – loving and healing – relationships.

 

 

How does this work?  What to expect?

No miracles, no guarantees.  No quick fixes.

In order to realize this vision of improved emotional regulation and resilience for your child, you’ll typically need to commit to 10-12 therapeutic coaching sessions over 6-8 weeks.  There will be a combination of child, parent, and family therapy sessions.  In addition, you and your child will have daily lessons to practice and journals to log your progress.

I’m also able to provide a school consultation module to help teachers respond more effectively to your child’s struggles at school, if needed.

The intensive, time-limited nature of the Mindful Solutions Therapy Program is intended to help you get better results, quicker. 

Once you’ve completed the initial treatment program, you can continue with half-hour Follow-Up Coaching sessions, as desired.  This option offers a safety net of support and booster sessions for maintaining or improving skills.

 

How Do We Get Started?

Before we can help with any problem, we first have to understand it.

That’s why, in order to enroll in the MST Program, you first need to participate in the Initial Consultation and Assessment (ICA).

The purpose of the Initial Consultation is to:

  • gain a thorough understanding of your current concerns,
  • assess your child’s functioning and needs, and
  • make recommendations for how best to meet those needs.

The ICA process involves an Initial Consultation or Intake Interview with both parents and child, along with an extensive series of self-assessment questionnaires (before and after the Intake).  I’ll also consult with teachers, counselors, physicians, etc., as needed (with your permission).

After the Intake and questionnaires are completed, I’ll integrate all of the information, then meet with the parents for a Feedback Session.  In that follow-up appointment, I’ll give you my clinical recommendations, any relevant diagnoses, and treatment recommendations.

If we both feel that the Mindful Solutions Therapy Program ™ can meet your needs, we’ll begin scheduling treatment sessions.

If not, I’ll do my best to redirect you to where you can get the help you need.

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I hope these quick FAQ's give you a better idea of how I may or may not be helpful to you.  Feel free to contact me with any remaining questions.

Or we can meet for an Initial Consultation to further assess and discuss your child's needs (SEE BELOW).

 


 

Fees and Payment

Current fees are $180/hr.

Standard 45-minute therapy sessions are $140.

Follow-up 30-minute sessions are $90.

You will need to pay as you go.  We will provide monthly statements that can be used for seeking partial, out-of-network reimbursement from your health insurance or health savings account.  Insurance reimbursement rates vary widely.

 


 

Initial Consultation & Assessment (ICA)

If you’re a new client seeking private psychological services, you’ll need to begin here. 

The purpose of the Initial Consultation is to gain an understanding of your current concerns, assess your child’s functioning and needs, and make recommendations for how best to meet those needs.

 

Registration Information

Intake Appointments are available only on Wednesday mornings, 8:30 - 10:00 am.

Feedback Appointments are typically scheduled within a week, pending completion of the assessment.

Both parents, whenever applicable, are strongly encouraged to attend these two appointments.  If one parent cannot make it, we'll make arrangements for me to talk with the other parent at another time.

The child/teen must attend the Intake appointment.  They might be asked to attend the Feedback appointment as well (TBD).

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Fees

The current ICA fee is:  $600

The Initial Consultation & Assessment procedures typically involve over 3 hours of my professional time, including data review and interpretation, collateral consultations, follow-up feedback and a brief written summary.

You are billed for the whole package at the beginning of this service.  Again, you may be eligible for out-of-network reimbursement from your health insurance, however, you are responsible for payment, in full.

If you decide not to proceed with the rest of the Assessment after the Intake Interview, you'll receive a $300 partial refund of your deposit.

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Scheduling an Intake Appointment

To register, click on the “Get Started” button below.

You’ll be connected directly to our online scheduling system, where you’ll schedule and pay for your Initial Consultation.

NOTE:  Our Acuity scheduling system is HIPAA-compliant, and all of your information is kept strictly confidential.

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Initial
Consultation

To register and schedule your
Initial Consultation.

 

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No Availability?

If you try to schedule an Initial Consultation (above) and there are no available openings - Please CONTACT US HERE and request to be placed on the Waiting List. I'll alert you as openings become available.

AND/OR you may want to check out these other recommended providers in the State College area:

Wishing you well, wherever you go!

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BONUS: How to Prepare Your Child for MH Services

Parents often ask, "How do I prepare my child to see a psychologist?"

You may be especially concerned if your child is ambivalent, reluctant, or even resistant to participating.

I strongly recommend that you prepare your child before an initial appointment by following THESE GUIDELINES.